Wednesday, November 19, 2008


the bitterest tears shed over graves
are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
harriet beecher stowe
I was at another funeral on Monday. He was an older man and in poor health, but no one anticipated the sudden heart attack that took his life. He was declining, not dying.
Such events make one melancholy. Thoughtful. Introspective.
He was at once on the periphery yet so integral to my life since I was born. His extended family a familiar extension of my small family. As my brother and I grew older and moved away from the home where Fred lived across the street and eventually away from the city we grew up in, we lost touch except through anecdotes and occasional Christmas visits. But the connection is forever there.
We see each other and the time melts away in uneven patterns. We are all older. The next generation is older and the family resemblances are happily and sometimes shockingly noted. The memories return, unbidden, erupting.
"Oh it is so nice to see you"
"It has been so long, hasn't it"
"I hope to see you again soon"
And you can feel the air ever so slightly move. It changes, it reverses as the words are said. As the words are left unsaid.
Because you know, you both know, that it will likely be at the next funeral that you see one another again.
geewits had a link on a post about a week ago for a musical interlude by her FIL. I thought of Fred when I heard her Bill's rendition of A Froggie Went A Courtin and listened to the recording several times. Fred was a musician at heart. He loved nothing better than playing his banjo or guitar. He tried to teach me that song when I got my first guitar, but I was never very good. Thanks, geewits, I'll keep listening to Bill singing and think of Fred's big smile as he plays his banjo. A perfect composite.


  1. Such a lovely post and what you say is so true...Old friends from childhood--you just almost pick up with them where you left off...!
    I am so sorry for your loss....So very many people touch our lives as we travel on this journey called life, and so very many are incredibly memorable....RIP Fred.

  2. indeed a lovely post, so sorry for your loss, sending kind thoughts your way, Katie, x

  3. It's always sad to lose a very old friend like that. I'm glad Bill's song brought you some comfort. I saw him today but he was asleep the whole time I was there. I will certainly tell him this when I next see or speak with him. And now for something completely different: Since about two days ago, whenever I check in here and see your name, I start singing it in my head to the tune of "Silent Night, Holy Night." I actually have a few verses but they are too ridiculous for print.

  4. I can relate to the experience Violetsky.

    Especially the top quote got my full attention: "the bitterest tears shed over graves
    are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone": a quote that is on the wall at my brother's house, who lost his first wife aged only 25.

    I still miss her every day.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

    What a sweet post, sweet in a good way that is. I'm so admiring on how well you can put your thoughts together. It's so true about some people, time, distance and life prevent you from seeing them but you feel like you've seen them the day before every time you see them. A true connection, a memory you will cherish for many years.

  6. So sorry about Fred, but he inspired a beautiful post.

  7. So sorry for your lost. It is sad to see them go but I am glad that you have great memories of Fred.

  8. Sincere condolences. Beautiful post which totally rings home. I lost such a friend this year and you put words on my bitter tears.

  9. Lovely post. I have been feeling a bit melancholy for some reason, & keep thinking of those have gone.

  10. geewits: now you know, this has really piqued my curiosity....

  11. Lovely, lovely post Violet. Sorry for your loss. Each time someone I know "departs" I feel obliged to live a little more than I has been.

  12. I'm sorry. I have that same feeling about deaths that are not so much shocking tragedies but still too soon, and melancholy to contemplate.

  13. I'm sorry for your loss. Harriet Beecher Stowe's words are so true. I've felt them in my life.


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